This just in: America has a race issue
It has been a shocking couple of days in America.
Shock No. 1: The first African-American president reacts to a race-laced police encounter with perhaps a different reflex than his predecessors. The Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in the case of Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Barack Obama says. Who would have guessed that we citizens don't always see eye-to-eye across the racial divide?
Shock No. 2: A politician expresses a charged opinion about an incident based on what's filtered up to him - then backtracks using wiggle room and charm, leaving fuzzy whether he really apologized.
"I continue to believe that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station," Obama said Friday. "I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well." He says he should have "calibrated my words differently." Mercy: An attempt at damage control by an elected official!
Shock No. 3: Cops rally around one of their own, Sgt. Jim Crowley, and detractors of the top Democrat leap into the breach. "While African-Americans are closing ranks around Gates and defending him, police in Cambridge, Mass., are closing ranks around Crowley and defending him," writes Justin Quinn on the US Conservative Politics Web site. "They say the police sergeant had every reason to investigate. Not only had there been break-ins in that neighborhood in the recent past, there had also been a former break-in at Gates' own home, while the professor was on vacation."
Wow - giving police the benefit of the doubt and just maybe then some.
Shock No. 4: White voters in the majority seemed to approve during the campaign when Obama lectured African-American men and distanced himself from the intemperate remarks of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright - but maybe not so much when he reflexively backed Gates from the White House. Carl Jeffers, an African-American columnist, writes in the Seattle Times: "I think that too many White Americans thought that with Barack Obama in the White House, we could just skate through the next four or eight years without having to deal with this annoying and uncomfortable 'race' issue, since Obama as president should quiet those kinds of unsettling issues."
Not finished with unsettling race issues? Hmmmm ....
Shock No. 5: The president diverted attention from his embattled health-care proposal.